It was the mildest October I can remember, and the swallows were around into the second half of the month, while the redwings – our winter residents from Scandinavia – had already arrived. The haunting flight call of migrating redwings is best heard at night, and was apparently once thought to be the sound of witches flying overhead.
Even the high winds at the end of the month didn’t signal the end of summer species as there were a number of common darters still on the wing in some of the sunny days right at the end of the month. Several small tortoiseshells were also spotted on the wing in the shelter of the hedge.
Dunnocks and robins are becoming more vocal, along with long tailed tits, which are beginning to form large flocks moving along the hedgerows. The pied wagtails continue to enjoy foraging for insects in the disturbed ground of the pig pen.
Our regular kestrel is hunting over the field almost every afternoon, and as dusk begins to fall ever earlier the little owls can still be heard with their yapping calls. Jays are particularly visible at this time of year as they search for food to store for the winter months, and I’ve come across one or two of these striking birds on and around the farm.
I’m looking forward to the arrival of our other common winter thrushes- the fieldfares. No sign of them yet, but listen out for their cackling calls as they move along hedgerows in the coming weeks searching for berries.